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Housing: The Hub of Public Policy
The Partnership for Strong Communities, in conjunction with generous partners, presents its 13th season of policy forums. This year's IForums will focus on housing as a key to Connecticut's most complex public policy challenges, including: economic growth, improving mass transit, preventing homelessness and criminal justice.
January 30th (snow date February 2), 9:00am-11:00am - Click here to register.
Zoning: How Local Decisions Shape Our Communities' Futures
Zoning regulations shape a municipality. A town’s zoning can determine the community’s economic development and quality of life: how much space will be devoted to shopping, single-family homes, multifamily homes, recreation, industry, offices, and schools? The land-use decisionmakers – zoning commissioners – are civic-minded volunteers. They devote many hours of their time and are saddled with enormous responsibilities. But they are often provided too little training to effectively advance development in their town’s interest and, more importantly, too little information to satisfy its changing needs. They must also endure the repercussions of their decisions, not just at town meetings but also from dissatisfied residents while walking through town or shopping in the grocery store. Hear what it takes to help decision-makers advance informed policies that will help meet the needs of Connecticut towns and their residents.
February 24th (snow date February 28), 9:00am-11:00am
Forecasting Our Future: The Economic Impact of Housing
Different types of people need different types of housing at different stages in their lives. Research shows that failing to provide a diversity of housing choices to meet those needs can damage our economy. Nationally, exclusionary zoning has drastically reduced our Gross Domestic Product and expanded wage inequality. How can anticipating future housing demand and providing the housing to meet that demand help to improve Connecticut’s economy and reduce the prospect of continuing state budget deficits?
March 31st (snow date April 3), 9:00am-11:00am
First/Last Mile: Ensuring Transit Opportunities Are Shared By All
As new transit options in Connecticut are coming online, riders who can use them will enjoy increased access to employment, education, healthcare, vital services and recreation. Studies show that mass transit can help reduce transportation costs that now consume an average of 19% of household budgets. But while some riders will live within an easy walk of this new transit, those living farther away will need easy, affordable links from home to the station and the station to work. How can revised buslines, ride-sharing and other new approaches to closing that First/Last Mile gap, now being employed across the country, provide models for Connecticut?
Navigating the Intersection of Homelessness and the Criminal Justice System
The relationship between homelessness and criminal justice involvement for both youth and adult populations is being tackled nationally and in Connecticut. A criminal record poses significant barriers to housing and increases the risk of homelessness. Those experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to crime and a return to prison. Removing the barriers to safe, stable, and affordable housing is critical for Connecticut’s efforts to preventing and ending homelessness. How can the intersection between homelessness and criminal justice be made easier to navigate? How can federal and state policies focus on supporting youth and adults confronting both homelessness and a return to prison and guide them to a path that keeps them housed and stable?
Maintaining Zero: The Prevention of Future Chronic Homelessness
Since 2012, Connecticut has been building a system to identify, assess, prioritize and match the most vulnerable people experiencing chronic homelessness to housing resources within a short period of time. Through a coordinated effort supported by Governor Malloy, the Departments of Housing and Mental Health and Addiction Services, federal and local partners statewide, Connecticut has become a leader in ensuring that homelessness is rare, brief and nonrecurring for this population. This IForum will examine strategies for how Connecticut can maintain an effective end to chronic homelessness by further strengthening the homeless response system and working with mainstream systems to prevent it. How can we ensure that these systems – including mental health, criminal justice and health care – are equipped to address issues related to affordable and supportive housing, and the need for sufficient case management and health services?
With thanks to our founding sponsor: